Making Choices for a Parent with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

Assisting an older parent with making decisions is complicated when you know Mom or Dad has dementia. At what point do you intervene and begin to make decisions for her or him?

My latest monthly column for Gannett Newspapers, “Making the choices for a parent with dementia requires support,” offers some advice for those facing the difficult task of making decisions on behalf of a parent who is no longer capable of doing so. Conversations with a parent with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease require a different approach.

Remember that there are no concrete answers, as each person and situation is unique. However, there will come a time when conversing with a parent who has dementia about his or her future no longer works. At that point, it will be impossible to involve Mom or Dad in every decision. Difficult as it may be, the conversation and decisions will need to include others involved in his or her life (i.e., family, friends, physicians, lawyers, advisers and professionals) to secure important information for the present and future.

Don’t lose hope. The parent you love is still there, as are opportunities for great joy and making lovely memories.

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